MLB Free Agent News: The Next 10 Pitchers Up for a Massive Extension

Joe IannelloAnalyst IIISeptember 1, 2011

MLB Free Agent News: The Next 10 Pitchers Up for a Massive Extension

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    Pitching wins championships. MLB teams and their owners are willing to invest an absurd amount of money into their starting and relief pitching to build a team that is capable of winning a championship.

    Players like C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee and even Barry Zito have received monstrous deals worth more than $100 million in recent seasons and there are pitchers awaiting similar deals at the end of this season or next season.

    We do not know exactly when they will receive their deals or even how much they will make, but there is one thing we do know. Pitchers in MLB will get paid.

    Here are 10  pitchers who will receive a massive extension.

1. Justin Masterson

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    Justin Masterson currently is ranked fourth in the AL in ERA at 2.83 and his career year is coming at a perfect time. He will be a free agent at the end of this season and he will certainly be looking for a huge pay-day.

    The 6"6' 250 lb. 26-year-old is one of the better righties in baseball today and his numbers certainly back up that statement. His record may only be 10-8 but he has been given little run support all season.

    He has already nearly thrown 200 innings and he has racked up 139 K's to this point. He has a WHIP of 1.21 and will be coveted by a lot of teams in need of a quality starting pitcher.

    He is entering the prime of his career and he certainly will be expecting a huge raise from the $468,000 he is making in 2011.

2. Ryan Madson

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    Ryan Madson certainly has his sight's set on a massive pay-day, as he hired super-agent Scott Boras in the offseason to do just that. Madson has been one of baseball's best set-up men for years, but he has shown in 2011 that he has the mental toughness to be a premier closer as well.

    Premier closer's expect premium cash and that may price the Philadelphia Phillies right out of the Ryan Madson bidding. Madson has a WHIP of 1.18 and 49 K's in 47.1 IP.

    He has 24 saves and just two blown saves on the season and his mid-90's fastball and all-world changeup will make him one of the most attractive reliever options on the market.

    The 31-year-old power arm continues to get better each season and clubs across MLB should expect much more to come.

3. Heath Bell

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    Heath Bell is now 33 and may be looking for one last giant pay-day before he considers retiring. He is one of the best closers in baseball and the three time All-Star is having another outstanding season.

    He has racked up 35 saves and a 2.55 ERA while only blowing 4 save opportunities. He is a proven guy out of the pen' who can be trusted with the game on the line.

    Those qualities don't grow on trees. Neither does money.

4. Mark Buehrle

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    Year-in and year-out Mark Buehrle is one of the most underrated pitchers in MLB. Maybe it is because of his quiet nature (except for his comment's on Michael Vick) or the fact that the Chicago White Sox are perennially under-achievers.

    Whatever the reason, the White Sox will have to ante-up to keep the 32-year-old left-hander from Missouri. Buehrle is having another stellar season with a 11-6 record and a 3.05 ERA. He has 92 K's and  1.21 WHIP.

    He seems like a lock to hurl at least 200 innings every season as he has done it 10 straight times and it seems certain that this will be his eleventh. Buehrle will be in search of a long-term deal that will provide stability for him and his family for the rest of their lives.

    An All-Star LH-pitcher will certainly receive a massive contract.

5. Edwin Jackson

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    Edwin Jackson may not be making as much as some of the other pitchers on this list but he still is a quality starter who will get paid this offseason. He has pitched well for the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Cardinals this year.

    He is 11-9 with a 3.83 ERA, 1.42 and 124 K's. The former All-Star still has untapped potential, even at the age of 27, and he will be attractive to a lot of ball-clubs.

    It's amazing how much money .500 starting pitchers get these days. Good for them I suppose.

6. C.C. Sabathia

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    C.C. Sabathia has chosen not to douse any of the burning questions about his potential opting-out of his contract this year and that means one thing: He is opting-out of his contract at the end of this year.

    Sabathia will do the same thing that Alex Rodriquez did and will opt out from the final four years of his 7-year, $161 million dollar contract that he signed in 2008. When is enough enough C.C?

    Obviously $161 million isn't enough for the guy or he would have pushed aside the rumors already. I bet if the question was about dinner he would've answered.

7. C.J. Wilson

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    C.J. Wilson is having a solid season and the lefty will certainly be looking for a big pay-day in the offseason. He is 13-6 with a 3.29 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.

    He has struck-out 165 batters thus far in 186 IP. He has thrown two complete-games and the Texas Rangers will do everything in their power to re-sign the 30-year-old from Newport Beach, CA.

    Opponent's are hitting just .239 against Wilson and he will be a valued commodity when he hits the market.

8. Matt Capps

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    Matt Capps just looks like he is waiting for a big raise in the picture above. He may have significantly lowered the amount of teams that will have interest in him due to his sub-par season, but he is a proven closer and he will still get paid.

    Capp's has an ERA well over 4.00 in 2011 and has blown eight saves, but he still has a 1.13 WHIP and 124 career saves at age 27. Capps may take a one-year deal where he can prove his worth once again, but be assured that he will get a large contract whether it's this offseason or next.

9. Jonathan Papelbon

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    Jonathan Papelbon has already received the largest deal in history for a closer who was eligible for arbitration for the first time. He has done nothing to imply that his numbers will go anything but up.

    He may make Red Sox Nation ancy and even have them chewing their nail's off at times, but he gets the job done evidenced by his 29 saves and just one blown-save. Papelbon has a 2.85 ERA and .91 WHIP in 2011 and has been one of baseball's best closers for the past six seasons.

    Papelbon will get huge contract offers from a few teams, but in the end he will re-sign with the Red Sox. He is too valuable a piece for Boston not to break the bank for.

10. Cole Hamels

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    The former World Series and NLCS MVP is under contract for another season, but don't be surprised if the Philadelphia Phillies lock up their youngest ace to avoid a bidding war in free agency next year. The Phillies have already proven that they will shell out tons of cash for their starting pitching (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt) and Hamels may have the brightest future of all their pitchers as he is only 27 and a perennial Cy Young candidate.

    He is 13-7 with a 2.58 ERA and .97 WHIP. He has amassed 162 K's in  178 IP thus far, and the opposition is hitting just .211 against him. He is one of the best pitchers in the game and he is a lefty.

    Those two things equal a massive new contract for Cole Hamels.